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Title: The soteriological role of the ṛṣī Kapila in the Yuktidīpikā : the production and transmission of liberating knowledge in classical Sāmkhya
Author: Kimball, James
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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The seventy-two verses of Isvarakrsna's Samkhyakarika (ca. 350-550 C.E.) form the core text of the classical school of Samkhya philosophy. Of the classical commentaries on the Samkhyakarika, the anonymous Yuktidipika (ca. 600-700 C.E.) provides the most extensive information on the rsi Kapila, the legendary founder of the Samkhya system, known as the paramarsi or 'highest seer'. In the Yuktidipika, the circumstances of Kapila's incarnation and the production of his knowledge are discussed in relation to the epistemological, psychological and phenomenological paradigms of Samkhya. Often the text mentions Kapila in terms of a limit or exception to these paradigms, thereby providing much information on the defining limits of the paradigms, on the apparent connections between them, and on the distinctions between ordinary experience and that of Kapila. For these reasons, the interpretative implications of the appearances of Kapila in the Yuktidipika deserve more consideration than they have generally been given in Samkhya studies. In particular, the importance attributed by the Yuktidipika to Kapila's original formulation of Samkhya knowledge and the circumstances of its production and transmission provide a basis for a re-evaluation of the role of the epistemological notion of aptavacana or 'authoritative testimony' in the Samkhya system. In addition, the evidence of the Yuktidipika suggests that the purpose behind Kapila's very incarnation was primarily soteriological. In this study, my intention is to approach the figure of Kapila in the Yuktidipika as an interpretative link between various elements of the Samkhya system. I will thus take an integral approach to the various occurrences of Kapila in the text, in order to construct a comprehensive picture of the mechanics of the production and transmission of liberating knowledge, and to present a re-evaluation of the importance of doctrinal authority in classical Samkhya.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral